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Linking ethical leadership to employee performance: The roles of leader-member exchange, self-efficacy, and organizational identification

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  • Walumbwa, Fred O.
  • Mayer, David M.
  • Wang, Peng
  • Wang, Hui
  • Workman, Kristina
  • Christensen, Amanda L.

Abstract

This research investigated the link between ethical leadership and performance using data from the People's Republic of China. Consistent with social exchange, social learning, and social identity theories, we examined leader-member exchange (LMX), self-efficacy, and organizational identification as mediators of the ethical leadership to performance relationship. Results from 72 supervisors and 201 immediate direct reports revealed that ethical leadership was positively and significantly related to employee performance as rated by their immediate supervisors and that this relationship was fully mediated by LMX, self-efficacy, and organizational identification, controlling for procedural fairness. We discuss implications of our findings for theory and practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Walumbwa, Fred O. & Mayer, David M. & Wang, Peng & Wang, Hui & Workman, Kristina & Christensen, Amanda L., 2011. "Linking ethical leadership to employee performance: The roles of leader-member exchange, self-efficacy, and organizational identification," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 204-213, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:115:y:2011:i:2:p:204-213
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. van Knippenberg, D.L. & van Dick, R. & Tavares, S., 2005. "Social Identity and Social Exchange: Identification, Support, and Withdrawal from the Job," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2005-093-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    2. Nahrgang, Jennifer D. & Morgeson, Frederick P. & Ilies, Remus, 2009. "The development of leader-member exchanges: Exploring how personality and performance influence leader and member relationships over time," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 256-266, March.
    3. Bandura, Albert, 1991. "Social cognitive theory of self-regulation," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 248-287, December.
    4. Brown, Michael E. & Trevino, Linda K. & Harrison, David A., 2005. "Ethical leadership: A social learning perspective for construct development and testing," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 117-134, July.
    5. Cremer, David De & Knippenberg, Daan van, 2003. "Cooperation with leaders in social dilemmas: On the effects of procedural fairness and outcome favorability in structural cooperation," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 1-11, May.
    6. Mayer, David M. & Kuenzi, Maribeth & Greenbaum, Rebecca & Bardes, Mary & Salvador, Rommel (Bombie), 2009. "How low does ethical leadership flow? Test of a trickle-down model," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-13, January.
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    1. repec:eee:touman:v:64:y:2018:i:c:p:170-187 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Walumbwa, Fred O. & Hartnell, Chad A. & Misati, Everlyne, 2017. "Does ethical leadership enhance group learning behavior? Examining the mediating influence of group ethical conduct, justice climate, and peer justice," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 14-23.
    3. Kruzich, Jean M. & Mienko, Joseph A. & Courtney, Mark E., 2014. "Individual and work group influences on turnover intention among public child welfare workers: The effects of work group psychological safety," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 20-27.
    4. repec:eee:touman:v:57:y:2016:i:c:p:139-148 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Kennedy, Jessica A. & Anderson, Cameron, 2017. "Hierarchical rank and principled dissent: How holding higher rank suppresses objection to unethical practices," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 30-49.
    6. DeConinck, James B., 2015. "Outcomes of ethical leadership among salespeople," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 1086-1093.

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    Keywords

    Ethical leadership Leader-member exchange Self-efficacy Organizational identification Performance;

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